“Struggling retailers closed a record 18,355 stores in 2018”

“More shops closed down in 2018 than in any year on record, as the crisis on the high street deepened and retailers went into full retreat.

Analysis for The Sunday Telegraph by the Local Data Company shows that 18,355 stores brought their shutters down for the final time.

There were around 13,676 shop openings last year, producing a net loss of 4,679 retail outlets, up more than 1,600 on 2017 as retailers such Marks & Spencer scrapped expansion plans.

Including banks and restaurants the total number of consumer outlets that closed was 50,828, also a record. …”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/02/09/struggling-retailers-closed-record-18355-stores-2018/
(pay wall)

Exeter and Plymouth HMV stores close

When the new owner asked who would decide which 27 stores he would close, he said:

Landlords

In Exeter the House of Fraser store was saved by doing a deal with landlord Exeter City Council.

Princesshay is owned by The Crown Estate/TH Real Estate which had already pulled out of extending the shopping centre last year.

Somerset MP says Taunton is like a war-torn Syrian city!

Does a constituency REALLY get the MP it deserves? Well ….

“One is an English county town with an eighth-century castle, pleasant high street and national park right on its doorstep. The other is a Syrian city left in almost complete ruins after eight years of brutal civil war.

But these distinctions appear to have failed to register with the MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, who chose to liken Taunton to Aleppo during a House of Commons debate on Thursday.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, whose own constituency neighbours the town, was attempting to draw attention to its boarded-up shops during a discussion about the high street.

The Tory said: “Exeter city has just brought out an excellent report looking 20 years ahead for the security and the growth of their city centre. Across the border, my county town Taunton is more like Aleppo than anything else.”

It is understood Mr Liddell-Grainger has never visited Syria’s second city but a quick perusal of pictures could have shown him it bears very little resemblance to the ancient Somerset town. …”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/taunton-aleppo-conservative-mp-ian-liddellgrainger-somerset-deane-council-a8758211.html

Budleigh Salterton and Tesco … accelerating high street decline

Tesco has announced it is cutting out butchers, fishmongers, bakeries and delis from its stores.

Spare a thought then for the poor traders of Budleigh Salterton High Street.
The Budleigh Salterton Journal of 23rd January reports that a variation of an approved planning application has been submitted to EDDC by Tesco because “a review has concluded that a smaller store could work better in this site than that of the approved plan”

Many inhabitants of the town are fearful, as before in 2014, that its wonderful delicatessens, butcher, greengrocer, florist, stationers and its 2 invaluable general stores would be put at risk of surviving with the opening of a Tesco. Locals had all dared to hope that the 5 years that this project had been gestating meant that it was no longer viable.

This move just doesn’t make sense when as Owl of 28th January highlights:

“TESCO is set to axe 15,000 jobs as part of £1.5bn cost-saving measure that will see fish, meat and deli counters across the country close down. Bakeries will also be overhauled, with the supermarket giant now ordering staff to use pre-frozen dough instead of making it on site. ..”

Many in Budleigh Salterton will not be happy to contribute to (last year’s) CEO Dave Lewis’ £4.87million pay packet and the chief executive’s short-term bonus of £2.28million on top of his base salary of £1.25million.

AND on top of that see the decimation of Budleigh Salterton’s High Street.

Will Tesco cuts revitalise high streets? Almost certainly not

“TESCO is set to axe 15,000 jobs as part of £1.5bn cost-saving measure that will see fish, meat and deli counters across the country close down.

Bakeries will also be overhauled, with the supermarket giant now ordering staff to use pre-frozen dough instead of making it on site. …”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/uknews/8288025/tesco-axe-15000-jobs-meat-fish-deli-counters/

After putting so many butchers, fishmongers, bakeries and delis out of business, will this revitalise high streets?

Owl thinks not. The killer combination of high business rates, increased town centre parking charges and poorer public transport makes it uneconomic for small businesses to return to high streets.

EXCLUSIVE: Seaton Mayor resignation: business owner’s statement last night

This is the full statement by Mr Gary Miller (owner, The Hat micropub) as given to Seaton Town Council last night, along with a screenshot and transcript of the now deleted tweets to which he refers:

THE TWEETS:

Transcript:
Twitter @peterburrows 1 January 2019 11.38 am
Burrows tweet:
It seems that someone who was rude to me on Facebook gave the impression that he was the owner of @thehatseaton in #seaton I wish them well in their enterprise.

Comment on above Tweet
Matthew Lloyd @matthewlloyd 16 hr
replying to @peterburrows @thehatseaton
You might want to advise @seatonTIC to be more professional on here and keep personal squabbles on personal accounts. Doesn’t make Seaton seem very welcoming to tourists like myself.

THE STATEMENT BY MR MILLER LAST NIGHT:
(verbatim)

“Good evening. I am Gary Millar, the sole owner of The Hat Micropub in Queen Street. I am addressing the issue of Mr. Peter Burrows, the then Mayor and current Councillor on both a local and district level, attacking my livelihood and business.

On the afternoon of New Year’s Day, Mr. Burrows had a very public argument about fox hunting with a private individual on the Facebook page ‘Seaton Views’. This escalated to a robust exchange of views between the two protagonists. (Amusingly both share the same perspective on the matter). Mr. Burrows, who is surely used to the rough and tumble of political debate, took exception to being called a very naughty word. His inexplicable reaction was to use his title of Seaton Mayor to make a direct attack on me, accusing me of being disparaging to the mayor, and to tell thousands of subscribers to a Twitter page called @SeatonTIC, to avoid my business. On the face of it this was the official Seaton Tourist Information Centre page.

This is a grossly stupid response from any public official in any circumstances. You could not make it up.

It is not at all clear why Mr. Burrows chose The Hat as opposed to the many other local businesses that his detractor frequents. Surely, as a public official involved in my various applications, he would have known who I was?

I do not use social media for anything other than professional reasons. If social media users followed the guidelines given in the Hat including “No nasty opinions” and “Be respectful and remember there are other people around you”, the internet would be a kinder place.

Both @SeatonTIC and Seaton Views are ostensibly neutral and exist for the benefit of the people of and visitors to Seaton. However, they are administered by Mr. Burrows which gives him the control over their content. Reportedly, other supposedly impartial social media sites revolving around Seaton are also administered by him. Personally, it disturbs me that a public official has such a domination of information without a clear declaration of interest.

For example – Mr. Burrows selectively deleted his unsavoury exchange on Seaton Views and blocked his detractor from the site. Yet he also closed the @SeatonTIC page entirely, not at the request from the Council as reported, but unilaterally overnight on the 1st/2nd January after legal action was threatened against the then unknown poster. This had two effects – first; we are unable to see how many people viewed his tweet to assess the damage caused. Secondly; imagine the impression given to thousands of potential holidaymakers following what they would reasonably have considered the formal Seaton Tourist Information Twitter page – A strange tweet from the town Mayor attacking a local small business, followed by an unexplained blackout.

This cannot be good for either my business nor the image of the town as a whole. Surely, directing subscribers to the official Tourist Information Site would at least have been a productive step.

I would argue that these actions were not a selfless act by Mr. Burrows, or in the interests of myself or Seaton, but a means of covering tracks. A clear case of canting.

I have yet to receive a proper apology from Mr. Burrows. His statement of resignation last week did not make it clear that I was not the person who insulted him, then he justified his actions, and finally boorishly he ended with him giving himself a pat on the back for a job well done. Unfortunately, any apology at this time now sounds hollow.

Mr. Burrows was high profile in his role as Mayor and councillor on both local and district levels. As such I view both the local and district councils legally culpable for his actions, regardless of these being rogue or not. I expect both the local and district council to do their legal duty and mitigate any damage against me. This includes a full and open investigation of Mr. Burrows conduct in office, including on social media, and disciplinary or legal action wherever possible. This motion of no confidence, and the complaint to the East Devon Monitoring Officer is a positive response by the Seaton Town Council.

Despite undoubted damage to my business, the support of my regulars, and other public support helps me believe that moving to Seaton to open up a new and innovative business was the right decision. My sincere thanks to you all and I hope to continue to serve you real ales, ciders and other fine beverages in a friendly environment for many years to come.

There is however still much to do from both Councils to support the current small traders and promote the opening of new dynamic, interesting small shops in Seaton. Encouraging visitors to move to the traditional trading area, now called The Cultural Quarter, from the lower end of town is an urgent requirement to start. Regrettably, after a year of trading in Seaton and having contributed in various forums, I have yet to see any concrete or effective steps to this end by the Council. This is an opportunity for both the Council and traders to reset and have a fresh start.

In conclusion I would urge all councillors to support this motion of no confidence. What most surprises me is that Mr. Burrows has not recognised his position as being untenable and has not resigned already on his own volition.

Thank you for your time and attention.”